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What is corporate sustainability?

By: Kelly Bellerson

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria is rapidly becoming standard practice, indicating a change in views and values amongst workforces.

Sustainability has become somewhat ‘fashionable’ in the corporate world, as employees place green practices high on their priority list and clients continue to look for fellow eco champions.

Today, the value of a company is no longer determined solely by profitability. Instead, they are measured against a number of factors – including sustainability.

Embedding sustainability

Embedding sustainability into company practices is the first step towards becoming greener, however, this cannot be done overnight. It will take patience, time, and understanding to truly make sustainability second nature.

A commercial building survey will allow companies to understand what their building needs to get to the next step, whether that’s LED lightbulbs or even a boiler upgrade.

Schemes focused on corporate sustainability are available, which can help keep progress on track, as well as contribute positively towards the company’s image – among many other benefits.

The road to becoming greener is unique to every business and depends on a variety of elements; from the office building itself to work patterns, requiring different levels of work and effort.

One way Sillence Hurn is working towards sustainability is by adopting a flexible working approach. Not only does this build on positive employee wellbeing, but this also keeps CO2 emissions low by cutting unnecessary travel to office.

Building sustainable business

It goes without saying that leaders will need to have a growth mindset and remain focused on becoming sustainable. Experimentation is encouraged as it leaves room to learn and adjust as needed.

Avoid setting goals with unrealistic dates. Instead, review progress annually and be prepared to respond to changes in real time and course-correct if/when required.

By consistently making effort, incorporating every aspect of the business, and undergoing appropriate works to make the necessary improvements, this will allow for goals to be reached and completed within allocated time frames – no matter what obstacles arise.

A building surveyor can advise on the best upgrade works to help achieve sustainability goals, upgrade energy performance certificates, or meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards in line with individual roadmaps to becoming greener.

Implementing ‘change strategy’

Ensure your employees are aware of set targets and how they can achieve them. Moreover, discuss why this is important for your company and how you plan to get there.

One of the best ways to weave sustainability into the folds of any business is through accountability – and that starts at the top. Senior members should look to balance their short and long-term priorities alongside company-wide green goals. Incentives can be a great way to push agendas.

However, collective accountability amongst all employees is essential. Each employee should be invested and engaged in the process in order to make those steps towards becoming more sustainable.

A made-to-measure plan is the final part of the journey; capitalising on the advice of a chartered building surveyor, ensuring all employees are aware and engaged, and understanding the current sustainable status of the company/the path ahead.

From there, change strategy should be incorporated into the daily running of the business.

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